The Oxford Companion to Philosophy (1995)

Komenský (Comenius), Jan Amos (1592-1670). Czech philosopher and pedagogue. Bishop and theologian of the Unitas Fratrum (Moravian Brethren), exiled in the period of Counter-Reformation. He found refuge in various parts of Europe, including London, where he wrote the mystically coloured Via lucis (1641). His principal philosophical treatise De rerum Humanarum Emendatione Consultatio Catholica is based on the traditional Neoplatonic scheme of emanations specifically modified and enriched by the humanistic idea of restoration of humans to the divine universal harmony by the way of universal reform (panorthosia) and universal education (pampaedia). So conceived, his philosophy aimed at a grandiose reform of pedagogy in the spirit of modern didactic realism. In place of scholastic verbalism it turned to demonstrative teaching, conceiving school as play (schola ludus) and as a workshop of humanity (officina humanitatis). The same principles gave birth to his philosophy of non-violence, peace, and ecumenicity. ‘Omnia sponte fluant, absit violentia rebus’ became his device.